Power continues to shift away from companies and into the hands of consumers, due to a number of substantial changes in the last decade. Much of this is related to the widespread digital revolution that has occurred, creating far greater consumer choice and changing guest expectations.

The incredible rise in social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and review sites such as TripAdvisor has meant that brands can no longer get away with providing poor customer service. In the past, poor customer service may have meant that guests didn’t return to a resort, and they could possibly have influenced immediate friends and family.

Now though, with social media and TripAdvisor, the opinions of your guests can have a substantial influence on other potential guests worldwide. This effect is amplified if your guest has a large social media following, and increasingly people are trusting influencers rather than brands. This means it is increasingly important to meet the needs of your guests, otherwise not only will they no longer return, but the bad impression they have will reach a wider audience.

A big part of the digital revolution has been the rise in disruptive brands such as Uber, Skyscanner and Airbnb. All of these have given extra power to the consumer, and broken up previous monopolies.

These kind of companies have had a significant effect on the travel and tourism industry. If your resort doesn’t adapt to the threat posed by companies such as Airbnb, and meet and exceed the expectations of your guests, then they can very easily switch their preference and loyalties.

Your resort needs to provide something different that a guest cannot get when they stay at an Airbnb location, and one part of this should definitely be excellent staff who provide an outstanding guest experience.

There are a huge number of examples of brands that haven’t listened to what their customers have wanted, or taken notice of recent shifting patterns. These include huge names such as Kodak, Blackberry, and most recently Yahoo. As shown, no brand is too big to fail, so these are some questions that you should be asking at your resort:

Airport Arrival:

When I land at the airport, am I going to be transported past 20 different resorts first?

Would you like that?

Solution: Make sure there is transportation at the airport that takes your guests directly to the resort.

Resort Check-In:

Will there be a queue at the hotel reception when I arrive?

Would you like that?

Solution: Allow online check-in, in a similar way that most airline companies now offer this service. This will significantly speed up the time taken on arrival for your guests to get the keys to their room.

Resort Wifi connection:

If I want to be able to connect to the resort WiFi do I have to pay extra and is there a long code to input each time?

Would you like that?

Solution: Free WiFi should come as standard, not some kind of luxury extra. You can walk into almost any cafe, order a coffee and browse the internet for free. If your guest has chosen to take their vacation at your resort then they expect free WiFi that is easy to connect to. While some may see this as more important for kids and teens, this is definitely not the case. Many people in their 60s, 70s and even 80s have smartphones, laptops and iPads.

Quality of resort Wifi:

Is the connection only quick enough to check emails?

Would you like that?

Solution: The internet is no longer a luxury.  High speed internet is actually more crucial than TV or a phone line in your resort rooms, as people are switching from TV, radio and print, to communicating with friends and family online, and consuming media through Netflix and YouTube. In the future it will become increasingly common for guests to choose resorts based on the quality of the digital services available, such as the internet connection.

Mobile charging points:

If I want to recharge my phone or media device, do I have to hunt around for a power socket?

Would you like that?

Solution: Many guests now carry around multiple media devices when they go on holiday. With the lines between leisure time and work time becoming increasingly blurred, and the rise of the digital nomad, more people will combine a holiday with work. These guests need to be able to use their devices at the resort cafe or bar. There should be charging stations readily available throughout your resort to make life easier for your guests.

Ultimately the big question is: Is your resort meeting changing guest expectations in this new environment? Happy guests will want to stay at your resort again, recommend it to family and friends, and most likely post positive things on social media and review sites. Your guests are your greatest assets in terms of advertising and the more you meet their needs, the greater return on this investment.

If you found this post useful then please share it across social media using #RDOdigital, and leave a comment below. We would also love to read any recommendations you have for meeting your guests expectations in this new digital environment.